Telstra is facing millions of dollars in damage to its infrastructure as the national bushfire crisis continues to cause havoc, burning towers and causing widespread outages.
As of Wednesday afternoon 27 mobile towers have been impacted across NSW, including four towers that had been burnt, while in Victoria, the number of impacted towers sits at nine.
Telstra’s Jingellic exchange, which is near the Victorian border, has been destroyed, while Mount Wandera, in NSW, has also been hit with damage.
Sources close to the business estimated the current damage to be in the “tens of millions”, although a full assessment is yet to take place and the situation is dynamic, depending on what occurs as the fire season progresses.
A number of sites are also experiencing intermittent service, a situation being addressed by incident controllers that have access to the sites.
The impact of the fires on infrastructure vary from site to site, ranging from ‘critical damage’ to towers and exchanges to loss of power and other factors outside the telecommunication provider’s control.
“Our power and network technicians are working closely with emergency services and power authorities to ensure our teams have access to areas of need as soon as they are deemed safe to enter, or under escort,” a Telstra spokesman said.
“We prioritise restoration efforts based on priorities set by the emergency services organisations and a range of factors, including the availability of resources, site accessibility, whether a community is in isolation, whether a site supports emergency services and the location of things like evacuation centres.”
Meanwhile, telecommunications provider Optus Singtel has six sites in NSW that will need to be rebuilt, while 10 sites across the state remain impacted. Four sites have not yet been accessed, while three sites – Tunbarunba, Malua Bay and East Lynne – have been burnt.
In Victoria, three mobile sites have been impacted, including Corryong, which was burnt down. Optus chief executive Allan Lew said it did not believe the financial impact of the bushfires would be “material to Optus”.
“Maintaining network service continuity and refuelling generators to support our network remain a priority and while weather conditions evolve our contingency planning will best prepare us for any additional challenges,” Mr Lew added.
Source: Thanks smh.com